Saturday, May 26, 2018

It! Finally! Arrived!

It was six hours too late for me to wear it in this morning’s 5K, but I’ll look totes adorbs in it for the rest of this summer’s races.


Funny this should pop up in my Facebook memories today

A fence went up two days ago around the Bever Building—the front door of which this and its twin lion have guarded for as long as I can remember—and the two buildings next to it, and their combined demolition is now well underway. Both lions disappeared weeks ago, presumably in preparation for the carnage.


Things that sound like ethnic slurs but are really just the names of weird props that you can hear someone say at a Fuddy Meers tech rehearsal:

“Where’s the shovel slapper?”

CRFD Memorial 5K

I always get choked up hearing the National Anthem--especially before a race for some reason. Possibly because it immediately silences a thousand-plus runners from excitedly chatting about the race ahead of them to reverently observing the flag in front of them. Hearing it under a massive flag hanging from a ladder truck at this morning's Cedar Rapids Fire Department memorial race will no doubt gut me.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Look who’s visiting!

And who’s still impossible to photograph! And who’s gotten dog hair all over my sweaty, sticky, just-ran-three-miles-in-full-humidity-and-heat self!

Flashback Friday: Monkrat Love Edition

This photo is from the last show I did with the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus. I can't remember the name of it--I'm sure it was a vaguely gay pun using monk-related words, and I'm sure one of my better-memoried fellow chorines will helpfully provide it for me in the comments--but it was an original story using modified lyrics of existing music about a budding gay romance in a monastery.
My online research tells me it was nine years ago--though my memory makes it feel more like 25--but the few indelible memories I have of the show--aside from getting to perform as always with 100 talented men and their big, beautiful, proudly gay voices--include struggling to to do simple chaînés in fisherman sandals that had enormously chunky Dr. Martens soles, struggling to remember the repetitive and cruelly endless lyrics to a rewritten "Veni, veni, venias" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, struggling to wear all 10,007 pounds of authentic fireman gear in my deus-ex-machina fireman role near the end of the show, and having a bit of a crush on one of the two lead monks. (Dear two lead monks from that show, if you happen to be reading this: I honestly have no memory of who you either of you were or which one of you I was secretly crushing on, so for the sake of no hurt feelings and/or no creepy lecherous objectification, please just assume I was and/or wasn't crushing specifically on you, depending on how you wish to remember the experience of that show. Thank you.)
WAIT! Bad Habits! I'm pretty sure the show was called Bad Habits. Because I'm certain it wasn't Monk-eying Around. Or Hold Me Cloister, because that would be about nuns. Or Gurrrrrrrlastery. No, it definitely wasn't Gurrrrrrrlastery

Take Back Your Monk, maybe?

Thursday, May 24, 2018


You know how when you’re lying on your side with your head wrapped in off-brand Saran Wrap and your ear wedged in a sawed-off drinking cup as you wait for the cold, rubbery alginate—which is your new favorite word—to congeal for your ear mold and someone hands you your iPhone to alleviate your boredom and you think it might be fun to take a selfie?

I’d probably take one if I ever found myself in that situation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Shirtston, we have a problem

The problem with running a 5K last weekend all by yourself with nothing but the rambling stuff in your head to keep you occupied is you sometimes come up with weird, crazy ideas.

The problem with the Internet is you can easily turn those weird, crazy ideas into a (quite clever, if you ask me) shirt you'll wear in every race you run for the rest of the year.
#HowToTurn50 #AndCleverlyRememberToLeaveRoomForYourBibNumber

We struggled through a ROUGH 3.33 miles this morning

... which my running buddy and I finally admitted—albeit cautiously, so as not to plant the idea of struggling in each others’ heads but mostly just to not look weak and devoid of toxic masculinity—to each other around mile 1.75. But we had beautiful weather and we slogged through our struggles and surprised ourselves with a final pace of 11:12, which is actually a tad faster than where we’ve been clocking in. Then we (masculinely) bro-hugged (again, masculinely) goodbye and parted ways without taking a commemorative photo ... and now I can’t stop sweating and I’m waterfalling so much that I don’t want to go in the house yet so I’m waiting out the deluge on a charming wrought-iron chair by the front door with nothing to do but swat gnats, take selfies and blather on about our rough-but-victorious run on Facebook. Plus use waterfall as a gerund.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Apparently my mini-diatribe against halter necklines over the weekend upset a few of my halter-not-hostile (halter hugging? I’m trying to go for cheap alliteration here) friends

As penance, today I’m wearing to-the-knee orange camo cargo shorts with hangy string things, a Dockers T-shirt featuring a fake-vintage eagle logo of a fake pale ale, and electric-orange-and-electric-green running shoes that don’t go with anything in the known universe—all of which I’m selfie-ing in front of a plaid chair I love that apparently everyone else in the family thinks looks dated and sad.

So have at it, halter-lovers: MOCK ME.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

What’s more shocking:

I blithely voted for the Iowa girl on American Idol just because she’s from Iowa or I’m hip and cool enough to even know what American Idol is?

Hondreds of hostas to the horizon!

Jake and the Amazing Heterosexual Theater Date

Just two dudes seeing a musical. About clothing. With an obsessive focus on its color palette.

Nothing suspicious here.


It's a rarely useful word for a re-used writing surface that still bears evidence of its incompletely erased original text. It comes from related ancient Latin, Greek and Sanskrit nomenclature for this very common occurrence in a time when writing surfaces were rare and therefore had to be frequently reused.

In the modern world where paper is available in abundance, palimpsest is used literally in the context of ancient documents and old handwritten diaries and metaphorically to describe extant evidence of anything from old buildings to previous marriages.

I’m always fascinated by the evidence of old windows, old staircases and even old painted rooms that are unearthed on the side of one building when an adjacent building is demolished. And there’s plenty of palimpsest currently high in the air around a demolition site in downtown Cedar Rapids. I’m especially fascinated by the evidence of the adjacent tan, blue and brown rooms that clearly had elegant frame moldings on this second story:

While the remnants of the painted rooms above are no doubt destined to disappear forever once they get primed or sealed or bricked over as the new building goes up, bricked-in windows offer a more always-on-display palimpsest, and to me they always look like secret-hiding ghosts, like the ones from the above demolition site and across the street in the alley next to the stately Granby Building:

I find history fascinating and engrossing in a macro sense, but personal, intimate, human-scale historical evidence—like old rooms where people lived and worked and made human-scale decisions like what color to paint their immediate surroundings—is to me far more meaningful.

How to repair a flat tire:

1. Cancel all your plans for the night.
2. Get up early the next morning and run 2.25 miles with a buddy who totally kicks your butt at a 10:09 pace even though he’d told you he was a slow and unsure runner.
3. Liar.
4. Be one of the first people in line at the Walmart auto center.
5. Find out that your tires are really old (which you kind of already knew) and that your flat tire was beyond repair (which you kind of assumed).
6. Get four all-new tires for way less than you’d mentally budgeted for.
7. Eat heaping piles of sugar and regret at the nearby Hardee’s while you wait for your less-expensive-than-you'd-assumed tires to be installed.
8. Facebook!
9. Pad your list because you want an even 10 and you have plenty of time to get there.
10. Done!
11. Oops.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

I’m home safe and sound!

And apparently THIS happened during all the excitement of my day:
Thoughts and prayers, Melanie. Thoughts and prayers.

I hate to be all judgey BUT I’M GONNA BE ALL JUDGEY

because AAA just sent the cast of Deliverance to wordlessly change my tire and start to climb back into its truck with zero interaction with me regarding the inflation level of my spare, how long they recommend I drive on it or anything else related to what I should look out for as I pull back into the highway with the back-right quarter of my car supported by a donut that hasn’t seen the light of day for 14 years. 

AAA, you really suck right now. But I’m heading home. Or into fiery death in a ditch.

Guess who’s parked precariously on the narrow shoulder of a rural highway somewhere north of Vinton IA with a flat tire and a 45-minute wait for AAA

Hint: It’s the gay guy who worked very hard to make sure this flat-tire photo is centered, balanced and artfully composed:
This 45-minute wait has given me plenty of time to cancel my much-looked-forward-to afternoon (sorry!) and evening (also sorry!) plans using my new, non-battery-abruptly-dying phone, though. So there’s that. It’s also given me plenty of time to visit the websites of every tire store in Cedar Rapids to find out that they’re ALL closed Saturday afternoons PLUS all day Sundays. Because there’s no reason to have convenient weekend hours when we all know that car tires go flat and need to be replaced only on weekdays. EXCEPT MINE.

But! AAA and iPhones are a potent car-trouble-fixing combination when you’re parked precariously on the narrow shoulder of a rural highway somewhere north of Vinton IA late on a Saturday afternoon. And I have a full tank of gas and a not-gonna-die-anytime-soon phone battery (plus Facebook!) and I’m as relatively safe as I can be parked precariously on the narrow shoulder of a rural highway somewhere north of Vinton IA, so this unexpected turn of events is more of an adventure-ish setback than a catastrophe.

OH BUT WAIT! Because LITERALLY JUST AS I TYPED THAT LAST SENTENCE, AAA called to tell me it won’t be a 45-minute wait—40 minutes of which have already passed—BUT A THREE-AND-A-HALF-HOUR WAIT.


Why the fuck do I even *HAVE* AAA if they’re going to suck this bad? And I really have no place to move my car and try to put on my spare by myself IN MY SPORTCOAT AND TIE while I wait.


Charcuterie couture!

Rare footage of Bitch Kitty being pleasant and delightful


• The city of Marion was clearly and cruelly platted by M.C. Escher because the entire 5K route was uphill and yet it mysteriously finished in the same place it started.
• Every hot man at the race was accompanied by a woman and/or child.
• Many of those children totally lapped me in the last mile.
• Which, I remind you, was totally uphill.
• That one guy in the black shorts and yellow shirt would have especially looked handsome with me in our wedding photos.
• He can reach me here if you know him.
• I’d forgotten that this race had clydesdale (meaning big ol’ heavy runners) and masters (meaning just ol’ runners) divisions. Which usually means less competition for us big and ol’ folks who should get trophies just for showing up in matching shoes. But even though I qualified for both divisions and did indeed manage to show up in matching shoes and therefore mathematically should have won in those big and ol’ divisions, I came in 15th.
• I placed 248th overall, but I didn’t register a place ranking for my gender.
• Seriously. After “G Plc” on the finisher listings, I have a big fat NOTHING.
• That’s not a metaphor for anything.
• Uphill.
• The whole way.
• Hot guys lugging around the accoutrements of heterosexuality.
• I couldn’t decide between that last bullet and “Hot guys albatrossed with the accoutrements of heterosexuality.”
• So I included both.
• Cleverly.
• I really stink right now.
• Because the whole damn race was uphill.

Well, shit

Just when I thought I’d successfully shamed the sartorial horrors of halter necklines from all fashion now and into the infinite future, Meghan has to trot in front of the cameras in a wholly unnecessary second wedding dress with a halter silhouette and make the look seem royal and admirable and therefore the inspiration for a new generation of copycat dresses that make women look like they’re being choked by tapered murderer hands. I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR DRESSING POOR HAPLESS MEGHAN IN A MURDER WEAPON, STELLA McCARTNEY.

The early bird gets the parking spot. And all the time in the world to blog about it.

GOOD NEWS! I got Doris Day parking for this morning’s Marion Arts Festival 5K (the second race of my epic, internationally celebrated, cooler-than-a-stupid-royal-wedding Summer Of Running Away From Being 50!) because I not-very-good-at-guessing-how-many-people-would-be-running-the-race-ingly got here 75 minutes early to avoid the inmates-loose-in-the-madhouse-level lines at the packet pickup.

SUBSEQUENT GOOD NEWS! I’m so early that there’s nobody here yet so I have nobody to talk to and therefore plenty of time to take (multiple!) selfies and write ridiculously-long-compound-adjectived Facebook and blog posts.

BONUS! The race bags that we get at the packet pickup for this 5K contain free samples of (respectively) BioFreeze menthol gel and Udderly SMOOth skin cream, which you usually get only for half and full marathons where you’re all but guaranteed to get (respectively) cripplingly painful muscle injuries and cripplingly horrifying chafed, cracked, unstoppable-fountains-of-bloody nipples. So this 5K might be pretty badass. Or badnipples.

ALSO BONUS! My bib number is 99, which is somehow really cool to me. It’s very symmetrical. And it’s unmissably safety-pinned to my chest. Like my very-symmetrical-unmissably-safety-pinned-to-my-chest-and-apparently-a-looming-threat-in-this-5K bloody nipples.


#HowToTurn50 #Nipples!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Utility markings on the sidewalk in front of the soon-to-be-demolished Bever Building. 9:34 pm.

Flashback Friday: Garish Vulgar Porn Edition

The Uptown Broadway Building--a 1926 Spanish-baroque riot of ancient gods, weapons of war, ceremonial urns, feral animals and Gothic windows all framed in a block-long regiment of ram-horned Ionic columns and sealed in gilded terra-cotta--was at first by serendipity and eventually by a little bit of intent always within walking distance of every place I lived in Chicago.

An architect friend of mine in Chicago--an incredibly bright man with a world of knowledge and an adventuresome aesthetic--called the building "architectural porn" with a mixture of awe, fascination, guilty indulgence and appalled respect. And if you know me and my garish, vulgar tastes, you know I enthusiastically subscribe to the more-is-more-and-always-heap-on-more-more-more school of architectural ornamentation. And since we were always in the same ZIP code, the Uptown Broadway Building's garish, vulgar architectural porn was MY garish, vulgar architectural porn. And even though I lived by the Wilson stop on the Red Line, I often used the Lawrence stop--the next stop north on Broadway--just so I could walk by my garish, vulgar, architecturally pornographic building morning and night. And often photograph it. And post the photos all over Facebook, where they frequently pop up in my memories to give me happy little hellos from my garish, vulgar, architecturally pornographic old friend. (Didja notice all those Ands? MORE IS ALWAYS MORE!)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Happy Syttende Mai!

[break it down: sytten = seventeen, de = of, Mai = May]
As I'm sure the endless media coverage has made you thoroughly aware, today is Norwegian Constitution Day--celebrating the 1814 Constituent Assembly at Eidsvold where we signed our new Constitution and began our quest for independence after 400 years under the oppressive reign of the (not so great, it would seem) Danes. (We joined into an unholy union on this day with Sweden and didn't gain our full independence until 1905, but that's a whole different fjord to climb.)

So anyway, I thank all of you for wearing red and blue today to help me honor my heritage. There's leftover Christmas lutefisk in the freezer. Help yourself!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

We need to patch things up

You know how when you get your Fuddy Meers rehearsal eye patch on your lumpy head just right so it stays put without the frustration and heartbreak of patch drift and you go to take a selfie to use as a handy but of course still artistic reference to help prevent patch-drift frustration and heartbreak in the future and just as you get your selfie composed in the perfect fusion of documentary and artistic, your castmate and rival in love just POPS IN OUT OF NOWHERE to photobomb you and fully jeopardize your future patch placement and bring about an achy-heartbreaky apocalypse of patch drift for all eternity?


There is always one scene or maybe even just one page of a scene in a show that is freaking impossible to memorize

Mine in Fuddy Meers is the Sisyphean stuff-of-legend Act 1 Scene 7a. (Its wacky-hijinks sequel, Act I Scene 7b, is thankfully so easy for me that it practically memorizes itself.)
As with every actor, I fully subscribe to the time-honored practice of leaving my script open in the passenger’s seat of my car and then setting it closed on my desk at work, secure in the knowledge that the words through their sheer nearbyness will magically learn themselves into my brain. But Act I Scene 7a REFUSES to comply. 

But I will break you, Act I Scene 7a. I’m neither intimidated by nor afraid of your attempts at fearsomeness. I will wear you down and when you’re off your guard and least expecting it, I WILL break you.

(and, scene)

I couldn’t figure out why my running buddy and I were so winded and wheezy toward the end of our run this morning

until we finished and discovered we unintentionally and unknowingly but totally rockstarly ran AT AN 11:15 PACE (the crowd goes wild! woooo!), which is down from 11:25 way back on yesterday and 12:56 even way backer on our first run together in mid-April (the crowd goes wilder! wooooer!).

Check out our summer personal-bestage:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Well, shit

I just broke a cardinal rule and took some troll bait and eviscerated some pointless trumphole on Facebook. And now I think my eye patch is on crooked. Let’s hope I have better success emoting my one-eyed crazypants lines in tonight’s off-book rehearsal.

It’s impossible to hate her when she rolls over on her back and curls her little paws like that


So. Much. Fucking. Winning.

But at least we've created all those domestic jobs and enjoyed the robust economic benefits of multiple trade wars and repealed the unarticulated evils of the ACA and bolstered our international standing and retained all those best people in the administration and lowered our collective golf handicap. 


So for the second appointment in a row my psychiatrist wants to see me in three months instead of six weeks like I’ve been seeing her over the last few years. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m still (relatively) stable or because I wore my phrenology shirt, but my muddled brain and my high deductible will take it.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Four serious allegations

OK. I’ll cop to the charges of wearing cargo shorts and owning Abercrombie & Fitch over the age of 22—and I will totally Javert you for turning me in, whoever you are—and I assume the other two charges are pre-emptive for grammar-shaming the robocall for saying “four serious allegations pressed on your name” and “so that we can discuss about this case” and for awkwardly flirting with any of the local police who might be cute, but I refuse to lower my standards to the point of calling an an upstate New York area code because I’m a Manhattan-or-nothing kind of wannabe New Yorker. 

So come and take me under custody—especially if we get to sing “Cell Block Tango”—cute local coppers!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

This all sounds delightfully practical and wonderfully logical, except if it lasts a lifetime why does it have only a five-year guarantee?

Does YOUR mother have a floor-to-ceiling rack of shelving for organizing and storing an exhaustive collection of baskets in every shape and size imaginable to transport various selections of pies, picnic supplies, pies, potluck contributions and more pies to every event and occasion imaginable?

Because MY mother has a floor-to-ceiling rack of shelving for organizing and storing an exhaustive collection of baskets in every shape and size imaginable to transport various selections of pies, picnic supplies, pies, potluck contributions and more pies to every event and occasion imaginable.

I can’t tell if I should trust my mother’s unconditional love for politely enduring my 1980s sartorial choices or if I should doubt it for letting me leave the house looking like this

but I’m still wishing her a happy, grateful, respectful, always-loving-back Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 11, 2018

More unrepentant cargo shorts—this time with breezy, sun-faded palm trees on them!

Most runners run with music

Rock ‘n’ roll, maybe. Or (I’ll deny this if you say anything) disco. Or (nobody’d believe me if I tried to deny this so I won’t even waste my time) show tunes.

But me? Noooo.

I’m about to spend 3.22 miles listening to the pulsing, motivating beat of my own voice, hopefully driving my lines for Fuddy Meers deep in my head:
You’ll know if it worked when you come see the show.